Butternut squash soup

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I woke up on Saturday morning with the urge. The urge to make soup. Butternut squash soup, to be specific. From scratch.

The recipe I like is from miss Gwynnie, Gwyneth Paltrow, from her cookbook My Father’s Daughter. It’s like fall in a bowl. So aromatic from a dash of potent garam masala. So velvety, it’s hard to believe there’s no cream in it.

There are so few ingredients in this soup that I always go the extra mile of making the vegetable stock from scratch too. It’s pretty easy. The key is the fresh tarragon.

The whole production is a labor of love (peeling a butternut squash = not fun). The sad part is, I’m the only one in the family who eats it.

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Vegetable Stock

  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 large leek, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and whacked with the back of a knife
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) cold water

Combine everything in a big pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes. Let it cool and strain into a clean container (don’t be an idiot and pour the stock through the colander and down the drain like I almost did).

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Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala or other curry powder
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced (about 6 cups of 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 2 pints (4 cups) vegetable stock, warmed

Heat the olive oil and butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the salt, pepper and garam masala and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the squash and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the stock into the pot – if it doesn’t cover the squash, add some boiling water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Let it cool for at least 15 minutes and then puree it in batches in a blender (or use a hand-blender, like I do: best thing ever). Season with salt and serve. Unlike other soups, this one doesn’t need to sit for hours or overnight to develop. It’s very good right off the bat. You could probably garnish it with pepitas or croutons. I like it plain.

Special thanks to my husband for dismantling and clearing out the pipe under the sink leading from the garbage disposal, which may have been choked by butternut squash peels.

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